Parksville's Sandra McNeill

Parksville youth wins Duke of Edinburgh Award

'It's a really bug deal,' says 19-year-old Sandra McNeill

A 19-year-old Parksville girl was presented with the silver level Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Saturday night at a ceremony held in Burnaby.

Sandra McNeill, the only recipient from Parksville Qualicum Beach, accepted the award from the lieutenant governor of British Columbia Judith Guichon.

A news release issued by the Duke of Edinburgh’s executive director Sushil Saini described the award as “the most prestigious international youth award in the world.”

“It’s a really big deal to me,” McNeill told The NEWS  with pride. “I’ve been working towards this for three years — it’s a major achievement.”

McNeill explains the purpose of the award is to encourage young people to set their own goals and challenge themselves to grow on a personal level. There is no competition between the participants as the award recognizes long term commitment, self motivation, community engagement and persistence. It requires applicants to demonstrate four categories: skill, community service, physical recreation and adventure.

McNeill’s application for the award consists of a two-inch binder brimming with newspaper clippings, pictures and log books.

“It’s kind of like a scrapbook of the last three years of my life,” said McNeill. “I really enjoyed putting it together.”

McNeill’s book provides a snap shot of her unique life from her days in high school theatre to her career as a professional magician; it also includes pictures of McNeill playing poi, volunteering with Girl Guides and camping in Nanaimo.

“Taking part in this program really taught me a lot about myself,” said McNeill. “I learned a lot about my boundaries in terms of what I can do and what I can’t.”

The next and final rank of the award is a gold level, something McNeill said she is “absolutely” going to work towards.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award originated in the United Kingdom in 1963 and was brought to Canada in 1956.

The program is open to youth ages 14 to 25.

Last weekend’s ceremony saw 65 youth from British Columbia receive the silver level award.

Just Posted

Suspect arrested following gunpoint robbery in Qualicum Beach

Stop and Shop Grocery was robbed June 5; man now in custody

Parksville Qualicum Beach region moves to elevated Stage 3 watering restrictions

City, regional district ask residents to conserve water

RDN board supports application for Coombs cannabis shop

Cannabis pharmaceutical facility in Nanoose also granted temporary-use licence

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. woman fighting to block coroner’s report detailing husband’s death

Fears revealing exactly how Ben Kilmer took his life will have traumatic effect on her two children

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Three Albertans land ‘monster’ sturgeon in B.C.’s Fraser River

For angler who landed the exceptionally large sturgeon it was an ‘incredible dream come true’

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

VIDEO: Pickup truck smashes into Vancouver Island home

No injuries reported in Friday morning incident

Most Read